It appears a significant step in the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation will soon be taken.
According to Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has scheduled meetings with him and city council members on Tuesday morning, where it’s expected Bettman will lay out an ownership plan for the Coyotes.
It’s believed the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment group — led by Canadian businessman George Gosbee — has secured the league’s approval, according to Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan.
Weiers said the fact Bettman approached him and city council means there’s some sort of development on the ownership front.
“If he’s doing what I asked him to do, which is to not bring us anything unless he had it 100 percent ready to go, if he thinks they’re ready to go, we’ll see what they’ve got to propose,” Weiers told The Arizona Republic.
Bettman, Daly and RSE will reportedly meet with Weiers, then hold two separate meetings, each to be attended by three Glendale councilmembers.
The Coyotes had already scheduled a Tuesday presser to announce an extension for GM Don Maloney (see below) but, when reached by the Republic on Friday, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said “other than Don Maloney’s new contract, we have nothing new to report on the Coyotes.”
In late April, Daly confirmed the league was currently in discussions with the Gosbee group — a group that, according to Paul Gilbin of the Arizona Republic, includes three other business executives (Anthony LeBlanc, Avik Dey and Daryl Jones) working under the name Renaissance Sports and Entertainment.
“There’s no doubt we’re dealing with Mr. Gosbee and Mr. LeBlanc and trying to work through and get to a deal with them,” Daly told Sportsnet’s Hockey Central (by way of AZ Central). “But there are other interested people that we’re working with at the same time, as well.”
Word of Tuesday’s announcement has spread quickly throughout the league.
On Friday evening, Andi Petrillo of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada tweeted rumors that the league was going to announce new Coyotes ownership on Tuesday, and that the Gosbee group was the front-runner.
There have been other signs as well.
On Friday, the Coyotes locked up Maloney to a “long-term contract,” which was announced with this statement from Daly:
“Since joining the team in 2007, Don has done an outstanding job managing his team and building a competitive roster that has produced on the ice, even given less than ideal circumstances off the ice.
“The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes’ future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don’s long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed.”
It must be noted that just because the NHL may have selected a purchaser, doesn’t mean a deal is done.
As Morgan notes, “the plan was for the NHL to choose one buyer before meeting with Glendale. That is exactly what has happened.”
Hurdles would still remain, including reaching an arena management deal with the city of Glendale.
(For more on Jobing.com Arena operating costs, click here.)